Pastor Maldonado took his first win of his career in the Spanish Grand Prix.
Williams have had a tough time in the last seven years, struggling to compete in the top flight and scoring only five points in the 2011 season. But a cool and calm Pastor Maldonado took a brilliant race win, the first for Williams since the Brazilian Grand Prix in the 2004 finale.
Starting from pole, Maldonado did come away in good shape, but Fernando Alonso, who started second, just made a better start. Towards the first turn, Maldonado had to let Alonso go, but managed to keep close to the Spaniard throughout the race, as Kimi Raikkonen were soon in third place.
Nico Rosberg made it past Romain Grosjean, splitting the two Lotus´ and Schumacher was right behind Grosjean. Lewis Hamilton, who started in last place, was soon past the usual backmarkers and were having a little fight with Bruno Senna, and Felipe Massa also made a very good start, coming up to 11th.
There wasn´t really a point in the race where the race stood still. Action, overtakings and plenty of close fights were the order of the day, and the action intensified as Michael Schumacher and Bruno Senna crashed on lap 13. The Mercedes of Michael Schumacher was cathing the Williams in front, but Schumacher semingly missed his braking point, and smashed right into the back of Senna´s car, sending both of them out.
On lap 19, the order was Alonso, Maldonado, Raikkonen, Grosjean, Rosberg, Vettel, Button, Kobayashi, di Resta and Vergne, some very good efforts, but look at the order on lap 35, when pit stops had turned things around: Maldonado, Alonso, Raikkonen, Grosjean, Hamilton, Rosberg, Kobayashi, Button, Vettel and Hulkenberg. Hamilton managed to race to fifth, granted he still needed to pit, but impressive nonetheless.
After the second round of pit stops, it looked as though Maldonado were losing a lot of time to Alonso, as the gap between them had close to less than a second. And lap after lap, Alonso chased down Maldonado, who impressed everyone by staying cool. In third, Kimi Raikkonen managed to slice off half a second per sector and were closing in very fast on the two drivers in front. With six laps to go, the Finn had 12 seconds up to the lead, as Kobayashi made a brilliant overtaking move on Rosberg for fifth. As the clock counted down the laps, the tyres were more important than ever.
Despite the used tyres on everyone´s cars, Sebastian Vettel shot past Lewis Hamilton for 7th and Rosberg for 6th, and Alonso was clearly struggling with his tyres, as Kimi Raikkonen caught him by as much as two seconds per lap on the penultimate lap, but just missed it.
Maldonado took an astonishing maiden victory, and the Williams team are absolutely thrilled. What a result, and Maldonado is the first Venezuelan driver to win a race.
The championshp standings after five rounds look like this:
- Sebastian Vettel 61 pts
- Fernando Alonso 61 pts
- Lewis Hamilton 53 pts
- Kimi Raikkonen 49 pts
- Mark Webber 48 pts
- Jenson Button 45 pts
- Nico Rosberg 41 pts
- Romain Grosjean 35 pts
- Pastor Maldonado 29 pts
- Sergio Perez 22 pts
- Kamui Kobayashi 19 pts
- Paul di Resta 15 pts
- Bruno Senna 14 pts
- Jean-Eric Vergne 4 pts
- Nico Hulkenberg 3 pts
- Daniel Ricciardo 2 pts
- Felipe Massa 2 pts
- Michael Schumacher 2 pts